I’m going to let you in on a secret.
On January 1, 2014, I signed what’s called a ‘Sole Commitment’ contract. What is it? Well… it’s basically a contract [I signed with myself] stating I’d do whatever was necessary to reach my two kingpin goals this year – the first being a PR at Marathon No. 3; the second being a graceful finish at my first-ever half Ironman event.
I’ve had this contract (in the pic) hanging in my office for 161 days. And with marathon No. 3 looming, it seems I’ve finally reached the ‘put up or shut up’ phase.
If you’ve been with me for any amount of time, (or if you’ve read my book), you know I finished my first marathon in 4:42. Four weeks later, I signed on to run marathon No.2 and boldly declared, (to 12,000 of my closest friends on FB), that my goal was to shave 26 minutes off my time.
(No sale – I finished in 4:37; barely shaving five.)
With two marathons and a costly injury under my belt, I knew something had to change if I ever wanted to shake my a** from point A to point B any faster.
So this go ‘round, I hired a coach. (You can read about our love/hate relationship here.) And since the first of the year, I’ve been following his plan like it’s my sole shot at meeting Oprah. (Seriously, there’s been no ‘spirit’ of the law here… I’ve been doing what he says to a tee.)
During our first five months together, I saw no improvement. Like none. Nada. Zilch. Zippo. Nil. In fact… my average per mile pace had been going backwards. (How this is possible I’ll never know.)
And then… it happened.
Either by the grace of God or the power of chocolate chip cookies and vodka, three weeks ago I finally, (FINALLY!), started to waggle my a** down the trail a little faster.
The first time I held an electric-to-me pace, I thought, “Hmmm… I’d better keep this sh*t to myself in case it was an isolated incident.”
The second time I presented Kenyan-like [to me] tendencies was on a 20 miler. I told myself, “Okay BK, let’s ride this ride ‘til the house burns down. If your legs want to move this fast, f* it, let ‘em go.”
I was fully prepared for an ugly, embarrassing, “Oh crap, I’ll have to call a cab,” blow out at mile 14, 15 or 16…
… but it never happened. (And thankfully, this new pace keeps showing up.)
So, with just 11 short days to go until marathon No. 3, I find myself in a tough spot.
What should I do on race day?
- Do I assume this pace is here to stay, get by with a little help from my friend Garmin and let the chips fall where they may? Or…
- Do I declare a marathon goal pace, tuck in with a pace group and pray the pacer knows NOT to blow my legs out during the first half?
I don’t know, yet.
Here’s what I DO know: You can’t ever truly predict what will happen over the course of 26.2 take-no-prisoner miles. No matter how hard you’ve trained or how fast your average pace is up to that point, the weather could screw you. Your stomach could turn inside out and sneak out your mouth. Your legs could revolt and shout, “Sayonara b*tch, you’re on your own.”
But here’s what else I know: I signed my Sole Commitment contract with the full intention I’d take a ruthless approach to crossing this mother off my bucket list.
And that’s EXACTLY what I plan to do all the way through race day. (That, and pray like hell the marathon gods and I are batting for the same team.)
P.S. I started the ‘pace group’ discussion on FB already – come chime in at www.Facebook.com/BrooksFirstMarathon. I’d also love to know – if you have shaved time, did it happen gradually or overnight?
P.S.S. The Sole Commitment Contract is a tool I give the women in my Inner Circle. If you want more info on that program, click here. (And hey, doors open soon if you’re ready to slay a big goal yourself!)
P.S.S.S. After my disastrous showing in the water at my first sprint tri, it was time to buy new goggles. There are seriously HUNDREDS to choose from and NONE that make you look like Angelina Jolie.